Wayy back 10 years ago in January, I inked 20 4×4″ illustrations of honeybees in traditional Lithuanian clothing, and then painted them in watercolors in March. I called this series “Avilys”, meaning “beehive” in Lithuanian: a meditation on my feelings about being of Lithuanian descent in America. Bees have a special significance in Lithuanian history, and feature prominently in their language and stories. Each bee is unique and depicts an aspect of culture, food, or history!
Avilys 16: Varškės spurgos, also known as Pampuskos, are curd cheese donuts that use whipped eggs instead of the more Western yeast to rise. Their name comes from the curd cheese used (varškės), which is comparable to German/Austrian quark, which is a popular ingredient in Central and Eastern European baking. Spurgos are a treat commonly enjoyed on Užgavėnės, the pre-Lenten festival celebrated as Mardi Gras here in the States.